In the week since President Obama declared a relentless campaign against the Islamic State, 51 American-led airstrikes were launched into Syria and 28 in Iraq. Meanwhile, an hour's drive away from the frontlines, life continued as it always has.  

"It felt like a very normal morning here in Iraq," said  Charles Sennott, co-founder of GlobalPost, reporting from northern Iraq on Boston Public Radio

"People [were] going to the vegetable market and going to the bakers and picking up this unbelievably delicious Iraqi bread that they bake here and eat every morning. People were stirring their tea along their little corner stands where you can tea on the side of the road."

But Sennott said that beneath the veneer of normalcy, there is a looming sense that momentous change is imminent as the country breaks apart along Shiite, Sunni, and Kurdish lines. 

"Even though you hear that clinking of tea glasses and watch kids in neatly pressed uniforms going out to school, what's really happening is a hardening of three distinct communities," Sennott explained.

He continued: "You're seeing, essentially, the pulling-apart of a nation into three separate entities."

To hear more from Charles Sennott, tune in to his full interview on Boston Public Radio above. Read his blog about the Kurdish fight against the Islamic State here.